BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3: Making a Choice

A BMW is a head-turner when it drives down the street. The name alone invokes a sense of premium German engineering and quality. It may come as a surprise, then, that this world-renowned manufacturer once cut its teeth in airplane engines, not cars.

With electric vehicles taking the world by storm, many begin to ask whether it's time to go all-electric. BMW gives you that option with its BMW i4. Despite this, your eyes may be set on the latest fad: the Tesla Model 3.

BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3: which is the best for you? In this guide, we examine BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3 specs so you can make the right decision.

BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3: A Brief Overview

Tesla has surged in popularity in recent years thanks to its divisive CEO and cult following of owners. You might have seen one on the road, or driven in one. By all accounts, they seem to be one of the most popular options on the market. 

It's a thrilling experience to witness electric acceleration and features. However, controversies concerning Tesla, its operation, and its cars have exploded - sometimes literally - in recent years. It's important to inform yourself before considering this brand.

BMW, on the other hand, remains traditional to its core. If you like any of the older BMW models, you'll like the newer ones as well. Reliability is high, and so is resale value. 

Let's go point by point comparing Tesla vs. BMW i4 specs.

Pricing and Availability

At first glance, Tesla wins in terms of pricing. It starts off at $40,000. On the surface, the price alone may sway you.

This seemingly low price comes with a huge asterisk. For years, users have reported a slew of issues from poor manufacturing. Even the CEO, Elon Musk, has admitted as much.

You might be paying less, but those savings could come back to bite you in the butt later. BMWs start at $52,000, but it's quality that lasts. 

Availability is tricky with Tesla. Many who have ordered Teslas from the website have waited months or sometimes years for their order. With BMW, you can just drop by your local dealership.

Design Language

You'll never struggle to tell apart the BMW models at your dealership. Although the design philosophy and aesthetic are similar, each has its own distinct character.

Teslas, on the other hand, all have very similar characteristics. Their designs focus on a "futuristic," minimalist look. Unless you are a purist, though, you may not be able to tell one apart from the other.

Many car enthusiasts have begrudged Tesla for not updating its designs in so long. It bears mentioning that you're getting a decade-old design, even on the newest models. However, this will be a point of personal taste.

The BMW i4, like its siblings and predecessors, sticks to traditional design. It's new and refreshed, marking out the i4 as a futuristic electric car. Plus, you still get the same iconic BMW logo and kidney grill. 

Interior Look and Feel

Similar to the previous section, Tesla interiors also focus on minimalism. There are very few knobs and dials on the steering wheel. You control almost everything from its large central display. 

If you are a fan of fine-tuning navigation, A/C, and other features with tactile buttons, you won't like the Model 3. Everything hinges on that touchscreen display. Many UI designers and industry experts believe physical switches are best, but the end decision is up to you.

The opposite is the case with the BMW i4. You get the best of both worlds: a big display plus all those essential physical switches.  

Further, BMW has never been a minimalist brand. It's driver-oriented, with premium interior materials and luxurious seating comfort.

Smart Features

Aside from being the green solution, smart cars set themselves apart with their wealth of smart features. 

Tesla does have partial self-driving and bare-bones smart features. This includes things like dual-zone climate control, full access via your smartphone, and more. Its cameras and sensors can even detect carjackers or intruders.

That said, another complaint many have heard about Tesla in recent years is the lag in innovation. Most other car manufacturers - including BMW - keep pushing for more and more in-vehicle smart features. Tesla promises big, then fails to deliver.

For example, when choosing a BMW, you get a built-in BMW Assistant. It allows you to manage things hands-free, even without a phone. Tesla has no such thing.

Even basic inclusions, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, come standard in BMW. You won't find this in Tesla either.

Range and Performance

In this category, the two cars are very close in performance. Both performance-oriented models can go 0-60 in approximately three seconds versus 6 seconds for base models. Regardless of which one you choose, you will get that iconic, zippy electric vehicle pep. 

Range is another critical factor for electric vehicles. A higher range means you can travel further on a single charge, ideal for long journeys.

The highest-end Model 3 option gives you 315 miles of range. The BMW eDrive40 beats it at 335 miles. 


We've already mentioned Tesla's issues with quality control. This does affect reliability, but there's more to the story.

Many report their suspension arms breaking and their door handles not functioning. Some even experience their car alarms setting off at random.

Teslas also have a notorious issue with so-called "phantom braking." The vehicle may slam on the brakes for no apparent reason, sometimes risking the lives of the occupants. For these reasons and more, the brand achieved an embarrassing 40/100 reliability rating.

BMW is one of the leading luxury brands the world over and has been for years. It has the trust of enthusiasts as much as everyday drivers, and continues to uphold a standard of quality.

Find Your New BMW at San Luis Obispo

BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3: which one is best for you? While Tesla does have a massive following, it also has a massive issue with reliability, build quality, and stale design. BMWs keep to their roots while implementing modern smart features and maintaining reliability. 

Looking to make the BMW i4 a part of your family? Get in touch with BMW San Luis Obispo and find a model that works for you.